The Daily Telegraph

High Court intervenes in Duke’s court case

- By Victoria Ward

The High Court has agreed to intervene in the sexual assault civil claim against the Duke of York and will serve the lawsuit in accordance with internatio­nal law. Following a query from the Duke’s lawyers, the court agreed that Prince Andrew had not been properly served. However, after correspond­ence from lawyers representi­ng Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the Duke’s accuser, it accepted a request to assist with service in accordance with the Hague Convention.

THE High Court has agreed to intervene in the sexual assault civil claim against the Duke of York and will serve the lawsuit in accordance with internatio­nal law.

The Duke’s lawyers had written to Judge Barbara Fontaine, senior master of the Queen’s Bench Division, to ask whether she believed due process had been followed in the suit. The court agreed that Prince Andrew had not been properly served.

However, following correspond­ence from lawyers representi­ng Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the Duke’s accuser, it accepted a request to assist with service in accordance with the Hague Convention.

A judicial spokesman told The Daily Telegraph: “The legal process has not yet been served but the High Court will now take steps to serve under the convention.”

Ms Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, insisted in court that the Duke had already been correctly served, having had the lawsuit delivered by courier to his home in Windsor, sent to his office email address and also by Royal Mail.

During the first pre-trial hearing in the United States on Monday, New York federal judge Lewis Kaplan gave Mr Boies one week to find an alternativ­e means of service.

However, he warned Andrew Brettler, the Duke’s new American lawyer, that he was making the case “more complicate­d” than it needed to be.

“You have a pretty high degree of certainty that he can be served sooner than later,” he said. “Let’s cut out all the technicali­ties and get to the substance.”

The Duke will have 21 days to respond to Ms Giuffre’s claim when the judge accepts it has been officially served. The next hearing is scheduled for Oct 13.

Ms Giuffre claims that she was forced to have sex with the Duke on three occasions when she was aged 17 – the alleged incidents took place in New York, London and the US Virgin Islands. She is suing for undisclose­d damages.

The Duke has denied all the allegation­s and Mr Brettler rejected her claim, describing it as “baseless, non-viable and potentiall­y unlawful”. He has asked for access to a copy of a “secret settlement agreement” Ms Giuffre made with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in 2009, in which she allegedly vowed not to take further action against the financier or his associates.

The document remains sealed but is said to have prompted the dismissal, by consent, last month of Ms Giuffre’s high-profile civil claim against Alan Dershowitz, Epstein’s former lawyer.

Mr Dershowitz has now accused Ms Giuffre’s lawyers of trying to use the spectre of the settlement as “leverage” to force the Duke to appear in court.

He said they had filed the suit, “accompanie­d by a global media campaign”, despite knowing that the agreement made her claim invalid.

Mr Dershowitz has urged the judge in his own case, Loretta Preska, to provide a copy of the settlement to the Duke’s lawyers, warning he was “compelled not to sit back silently knowing the content of the document at issue”.

“The issue before the Court is a matter of profession­al ethics and the interests of justice,” he told Judge Preska.

He said the terms of the release Ms Giufree signed in 2009 were “broad and unambiguou­s.”

The Duke’s legal team remains confident that the agreement will enable them to get the claim against him struck out. The Duke has insisted that he has “no recollecti­on” of meeting Ms Giuffre.

‘The legal process has not yet been served but High Court will now take steps under the Hague Convention’

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